In his first two years in Dallas, shooting guard Dominique Jones has been a largely forgotten man.
The No. 25 overall pick out of South Florida in 2010, the 6'4 215 shooting guard has been unable to crack the Mavericks rotation, appearing in only 18 games as a rookie last year.
However, with the injuries to Delonte West and Jason Terry, and Rodrigue Beaubois dealing with a death in the family, the second-year guard has suddenly been thrust into a huge role.
He played 31 minutes in Dallas' 102-84 victory over the Denver Nuggets Wednesday night, after averaging only 6.1 minutes, largely in garbage time, in his first 15 games this season.
With the Mavericks trying to limit Jason Kidd's playing time in the lockout-compressed season, Jones will primarily see action as the team's back-up point guard:
"It's probably in many ways a more natural position for him than 2, because he's very good with the ball," Carlisle said. "He sees things, has a good feel for passing and he causes problems with his penetration. This is an opportunity for him."
Added Jones, who had logged only 195 NBA minutes in his career before Wednesday: "I think I have a lot to learn at both postions, 1 and 2, so I'm real humble when it comes to that, real open-minded when it comes to learning. But I'm pretty comfortable playing the 1."
"He's a great driver, slasher," Dirk Nowitzki said. "He can finish in the paint and once in a while, he's going to make a shot. Defensively, he's a workhorse. He's a big guy, he can move, he can be active. He's definitely going to get some opportunities here and he's going to make the best out of them like he did tonight."
At DraftExpress, the premier NBA Draft website on the internet, the scouting report for Jones is mixed:
What makes Jones intriguing in today's NBA is that he can spend time at either backcourt position. He's clearly a good enough ball handler to bring the ball up the court and get a team into its offense, and he shows pretty good court vision on top of that, with his ability to play the pick-and-roll and find teammates off the dribble in drive and dish situations.
The other place that Jones stands out is on the defensive end, where he can come up with some incredibly impressive possessions. Jones appears capable of guarding either backcourt position in the NBA. He is especially effective on the ball, where his terrific size, strength and length shines through.
The most notable adjustment would be in his jump shot, which is not a consistent weapon for him in catch-and-shoot or off-the-dribble situations. Jones sports a slow release and flat-footed mechanics on his jumper. He doesn't create any separation whatsoever from his defender. This is likely to be a bigger issue for him in the NBA, as he may not be able to get his shot off as effectively. Expanding his range out to the NBA 3-point line -- and becoming more consistent with his jumper in general -- should be a big priority for him moving forward.
Jones also can stand to improve his left hand. He heavily favors driving right and will more often than not opt to pull up for a jumper if forced to operate with his off hand. Even when driving right, he lacks a degree of explosiveness when finishing around the basket. This isn't much of an issue at the college level, particularly with his ability to get to the free throw line, but it may be something to keep an eye on in terms of the way he projects to the NBA.
The Dallas front-office saw enough in Jones to purchase his rights from the Memphis Grizzlies for $3 million on draft night. Almost two years later, they're about to find out if that was money well spent.